SOLITUDE - Reach For The Sky
December 30, 2016, a year ago
(Test Your Metal)
The biggest reference point of Japanese metal has to be Loudness. They achieved decent success in North America (due to MTV) more than any other Jap band. Bands such as Anthem, EZO and Sigh (I probably forgot a few) were also pretty well known on this continent. It’s hard to believe Solitude has been around for 20 years and while they’ve built up quite a name in their homeland, they’re just now piquing interest on these shores. The 6-year hiatus between releases probably didn’t help, either. Previously released in Japan last year (via Spiritual Beast), the band’s second album Reach For The Sky is now available here. Solitude possesses a classic old school metal sound most notably in the vein of bands such as Motörhead, Metallica, Saxon and Venom.
“Venom’s Angel” opens the album with a melodic acousto/electric guitar intro which serves as the calm before the storm. Exploding into menacing Venom/Metallica-esque riffs and a barrage of double-canon kick drums, the song soon chugs along at a mid-paced attack. The band locks in and rides out the main riff throughout its seven-plus minute duration. The hard-charging Motörhead-ish “Blow” is up next, and its razor-sharp riffing is explosive, even setting off a sampled explosion at the song’s conclusion! It’s this simple, repetitive approach to the riffing that propels the eight tracks and gives guitarist Shingo Ida a platform to wail away on his fretboard. Instrumental “Escape For The Crime” also gives Ida a chance to shine while implementing some harmonized melodic accents. However, the gruff, “English as a second language” vocals of Akira Sugiuchi are an acquired taste, yet fit the band’s raw style. Some tracks are a bit too long and are lacking in tempo changes, preferring to stay within the mid-tempo style throughout the 43 minute runtime. Although there’s diversity between each track, there’s not a lot of hooky moments to make each one highly memorable. But the riffs are awesome! (check out the ripping “Don’t Need Mercy” for proof). Reach For The Sky is a good listen, and hopefully it doesn’t take as long for Solitude to put out a new album.